Phenomics: expanding the role of clinical evaluation in genomic studies.
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With advances in high-throughput genotyping technologies, the rate-limiting step of large-scale genetic investigations has become the collection of sensitive and specific phenotype information in large samples of study participants. Clinicians play a pivotal role for successful genetic studies because sound clinical acumen can substantially increase study power by reducing measurement error and improving diagnostic precision for translational research. Phenomics is the systematic measurement and analysis of qualitative and quantitative traits, including clinical, biochemical, and imaging methods, for the refinement and characterization of a phenotype. Phenomics requires deep phenotyping, the collection of a wide breadth of phenotypes with fine resolution, and phenomic analysis, composed of constructing heat maps, cluster analysis, text mining, and pathway analysis. In this article, we review the components of phenomics and provide examples of their application to genomic studies, specifically for implicating novel disease processes, reducing sample heterogeneity, hypothesis generation, integration of multiple types of data, and as an extension of Mendelian randomization studies.
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